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German Research Foundation funds cardiovascular research at the Mainz University Medical Center

Focused research on the involvement of inflammatory processes in the development of hypertension and arteriosclerosis

The German Research Foundation has approved funding for the Department of Internal Medicine II of the Mainz University Medical Center to promote the further study of the interrelations between the immune system and cardiovascular system disorders. The main focus of the current research project is on the pathogenesis of high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis.

PD Dr. Philip Wenzel, cardiologist and senior physician at the Department of Internal Medicine II, will use the about EUR 300,000 he has been granted for the next 36 months for staff resources and consumables. "We want to pursue the fascinating question of how the blood pressure hormone angiotensin II and the mediators of inflammation, in particular interferon gamma, interact in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases," said Wenzel.

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that inflammatory cells, which are normally responsible for defending the body against pathogens, are also involved in the development of such frequently encountered disorders as hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and so-called 'window shopping syndrome' or intermittent claudication.

It is possible that many of the medications used to treat these illnesses, such as statins and ACE inhibitors, are only as effective as they are because they actually moderate these inflammatory processes. "Through our research, we hope to establish the foundations on which targeted anti-inflammatory therapies for arteriosclerosis can be developed and used in the future," Wenzel continued.

The successful acquisition of third-party funds is also attributable to the strategy adopted by the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), namely that of establishing specialized research units. Within this context, the research team led by PD Dr. Philip Wenzel has managed to form partnerships that are important for the future of translational medicine.

"The work of the Research Unit Vascular Prevention and the establishment of the Center for Thrombosis and Hemostasis (CTH) with the support of the Mainz Heart Foundation have created an environment in which applications to the German Research Foundation have a greater chance of success," said Professor Dr. Thomas Münzel, Founding Director of the CTH and Coordinator of the Research Unit Vascular Prevention at the Mainz University Medical Center.

Petra Giegerich | idw
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